Join us for The Fixer Upper: Buying into the American Tragicomedy with Amndtrn5thsnd, PhD (independent artist and scholar)
This presentation focuses on the comedic narrative trope of the fictional fixer upper, which follows the laborious exertions of characters to fix up a decayed relic of a house. Through these exertions, unruly upstarts are transformed from wild individuals into interchangeable parts of a domestic system that is masculine, white, and ahistorically nostalgic for the post-WWII generation. At stake, ironically, is demonstrating that even the most affirming fictions that seemingly buy into the American Dream of single family home ownership ultimately express the horror of it for even those who purchase the “dream.” I track this process through 3 primary objects, all of which can be read as adaptations of Eric Hodgin’s 1946 novel Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House—War of the Roses (1981), The Money Pit (1986), and Are We Done Yet? (2007).
Red Line Service is led by people with a lived experience of being unhoused. Red Line Service wields art world resources to build community, generating the sense of belonging and mutual care essential to securing and retaining housing. We collaborate with artists and cultural institutions to expand access to the art world, avowing that art can break the bonds of ingrained social roles and structures and forge new realities in which all can flourish.
This program is generously supported by IL Humanities and the Chicago Housing Justice League.